Spending the Day with Fix
Johannesburg Travel Blog› entry 5 of 41 › view all entries
So today was a great day! First of all, I have laughed so much with Connie. She cracks me up.
So I got up early and had a delicious breakfast. They had a huge display of all kinds of fruits here for breakfast. All the fruits were so sweet and juicy. They had mango and guava juice. I haven’t had either of those I think since I was in Colombia a few years ago.
Then I came up to the room to wait for Connie. Connie got here around 11 am and caught me up on her airport/cab adventures. She basically experienced the same brusqueness with the cab drivers at the airport, where they were throwing themselves at her and following her. She had some cabbie trying to take her suitcase.
Anyway, she wound up taking a shuttle for 215 RANDs. She tipped him 5 RANDs. The exchange rate is 1 dollar to 7.7 RANDs. Let me tell you something…. That has been the joke of the day. We have laughed so much at her tip. She came over and was asking me to look up what our tour book suggested for tipping. I showed here where it said 10%.
So fast forward to later in the day. We went downstairs to get a cab to take us to the Apartheid Museum. So the cab driver gave us a fee he would charge us.
Our cab driver pointed out famous or significant landmarks as we were driving. He was so neat! He talked us through the entire ride up and back. Connie and I started asking him personal questions about how he lived, who he lived with, his children, his salary and income and people’s living conditions in Johannesburg. We learned so much. Fix (that was our cabbie’s name, short for Fikile, which means “arrive”) taught us so much. It was so educational. He drove us around Soweto and told us about the shacks or informal housing. He waited for us outside the Hector Pieterson Museum a while and then drove us back through town.
Fix (who says he is known for fixing stuff) fixed our problem by becoming our tour guide that day. He spent the afternoon laughing with us, talking to us and letting us drill him as much as we wanted.
He told us that for his 1998 Mercedes Benz cab, one could pay something like 70,000 RANDs. He said a liter of milk here costs about 10R. He has a girlfriend with whom he has a child, but he does not live with her. He still lives at home with his mom, dad, sister and two brothers. He said when his girlfriend’s parents found out she was pregnant, they went to talk to his parents. He had to admit the child was his. If he wanted to allow her to move in with him in his parents’ home, he would have to pay a Lobola. This is a payment he has to give to his parents for allowing his girlfriend to move in with them, but he has decided not to do that yet, since he is trying to go back to school for tourism. Fix told us the average cost of college tuition is approximately 20,000 R though it depends on the course of study.
So after our cab adventure, we made a deal with him to pick us up on Wednesday at 5:15 am to take us to the airport for our Cape Town flight. Then he’s going to pick us up on Saturday at the airport to take us to the Apartheid Museum and to the flea market before we head back home or onward to Dubai. We must have tipped better this time, for him to agree to come get us both those days and drive us around.
The Hector Pieterson Museum was interesting. It was neat to learn about the protests that took place and how police shot so many children who were not violently protesting. The town of Soweto was nice to see. It was so interesting to see how people live. The houses looked like rancher style homes, except they’re made of concrete walls. Then you can walk down one block and see shacks (called informal houses or un-established housing). The more interesting part of it was that in front and to the side of the Orlando Stadium where the World Cup Soccer games will take place (the finals will take place in Soccer City, another nearby stadium) there were shack communities built up. We asked him if he thought the government would get rid of them to hide that from the expected 8 million tourists the World Cup games would bring in, and he said he thought they would be kept up. Connie and I think the government should and probably will take the shacks down, but we’re curious where the people will be moved to.
Our cab driver also drove us past Nelson Mandela’s home, where he grew up. There were people crowded around taking pictures in front of it. He stopped to let us take pictures in front of the home.
Anyway, we ended the night with a nice dinner and a quick trip to the supermarket. Then sat in bed and talked for a while.
We’re all set for our Pilanesburg Nature Reserve Safari Tour tomorrow.
By the way -
By the way -
Connie felt so bad about not having tipped her shuttle driver enough, she kept saying she wanted to go to the airport to find him so she could tip him. She truly felt horrible about it. But it was still funny to us. She said she was just frazzled by all the cab drivers harassing her and confused by the exchange rate.
I have to admit, those cab drivers at the airport could make you confused easily!